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FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Notice of Proposed Expansion of New Orleans Historic Districts"
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Name: Sara S. Orton
City: New Orleans
Comments: I would like to comment on a district I believe has been overlooked and one that should be included on this list of new districts. The area is around London Avenue in the 7th Ward portion of the city. This neighborhood is significant for the early 20th century architecture as well as for the people who lived in and built the area. Many street faces in this neighborhood have survived in tact, with rows of identical shotguns with minor detail differences.

The 7th Ward of New Orleans is a historically African-American neighborhood populated by the city's crafts and tradespeople. As such, it is where St. Augustine High School was built, which was the first Catholic high school in the city for African-Americans. Additionally, Nora Navra, the first library for African-Americans in the city, was also built in this area on St. Bernard Avenue. These institutions were established in this neighborhood in the 1950s because it was already a strong, African-American community.

Many African-Americans could not obtain mortgages in the early part of the 20th century. Thus, the working people of this neighborhood built homes for themselves and for each other. Carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, painters, and masons traded their expertise with the other tradespeople in the area to construct their homes.

The 7th Ward/London Avenue area should be included in the list of New Orleans historic districts. The potential district boundaries would be roughly: St. Bernard Avenue, N. Broad Avenue, Florida Avenue, Elysian Fields Avenue, and Interstate 10. There is no other part of the city that compares to this community of craftspeople who helped to construct New Orleans. These are the very people who helped to build a great deal of this city and the neighborhood in which they lived their lives and raised their families deserves recognition and some level of protection.